Exciting Presenters Headline Inaugural Washington Island Canoe & Kayak Event

In addition to the many canoe and kayak events at the first annual Washington Island Canoe & Kayak Symposium, there will also be a number of exciting presentations and re-enactments. The Symposium is set for Friday, June 19 through Sunday, June 21.

“Voices of Our Past,” a fur-trade rendezvous, will be created at Red Barn Park on Saturday, June 20. Project Lakewell, Inc., a five-member teaching team, interprets French Voyageurs, Metis, and other characters in traditional regalia. Visitors can interact with the educators and learn about wilderness ecology, environmental preservation, and centuries-old survival skills.

Reid Henri Lewis, historian, adventurer, and cultural preservationist, will be the keynote presenter at Washington Island’s Trueblood Performing Arts Center on Saturday, June 20 at 8 pm. Lewis will recount his experience leading an eight month, 23-man expedition through the cruelest Midwestern winter on record to re-create LaSalle’s epic 1681 voyage from Montreal to the Gulf of Mexico.

On Sunday, June 21st, the Project Lakewell re-enactors will paddle a 26-foot reproduction birch-bark canoe across Death’s Door from Washington Island, Wisconsin to Northport with a fleet of kayaks, canoes, pilot boats and the Washington Island Ferry Line.

Billy Daniels Jr., Pottawatomie Spiritual Elder and County Pottawatomie Director of Language and Culture of the Forest Community, offers prayers and reflections on the historical significance of the Death’s Door passage on Sunday, June 21, before the regatta launches from Washington Island to Northport.

Project Lakewell, Billy Daniels, Jr. and Reid Lewis round out a full roster of weekend activities and events, including a kayak symposium where novices and experienced paddlers can hone their skills with instruction by world-class kayakers. Experienced paddlers are registering for the marathon kayak race circumnavigating Washington Island. Beginner and intermediate races in Detroit Harbor are offered too. Families and spectators are welcome.

Registration for the kayak symposium is limited to maintain a 1:6 instructor/student ratio. Advance sign-up is suggested.

To find out more about the Washington Island Canoe and Kayak Event, or to register, visit or call 920. 847.2400.